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Thanksgiving in Vegas / First Winning Trip

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by NPLV, Nov 26, 2018.

  1. NPLV

    NPLV High-Roller

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2016
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    663
    Location:
    Florida
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    11

    My Trip Report

    Last year, my parents established a new tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving in Vegas. They invited me to go but I had already booked a trip for mid-November and was dying to take a solo trip so I kept those plans. I had a lot of fun on that solo trip but if I knew how much fun this would be, I would’ve done it a year ago. It was my first winning trip – by $90 – but that is only part of why I enjoyed it. It was a great trip – I’ve felt that pretty much every trip I’ve taken to Vegas has been the best yet and I feel that way this time too.

    We made tentative plans for this way back in May before my last trip and I went ahead and booked a room at Planet Hollywood for $28/night to have as a placeholder. My parents weren’t 100% they were going to be able to do it again this year and therefore weren’t sure where they would stay. When the trip became a sure thing, they booked at Caesars which is tied for their favorite place along with Venetian. I figured I’d join them even if it would be a bit more than I’d like to spend, worth it to be able to meet them for drinks in the lobby beforehand and all that.

    As it turns out, I re-booked after my June trip which was my heaviest gambling trip yet and needless to say, I liked what I saw. I checked Caesars when I initially booked and even the Forum Tower (apparently the base room) was for almost $100/night. Now I’m TR Platinum and I signed in and got Palace Tower for $68/night. More than PH, but that’s one hell of a deal in my opinion. Even factoring in those dreaded resort fees, that’s $113/night for what is pretty damn close to a 5 star hotel.

    Parents handled the flights and I was thrilled to hear that we were early in and early out. Southwest flights from Fort Lauderdale to Vegas are usually later in the day for both. I love getting there early, an extra full day in Vegas with the whole trip in front of you. The last day to me is not as fun since I have to constantly be checking my watch and am limited in what I can do and how much weed I can smoke/eat. Plus, later flights from Vegas get into Lauderdale near midnight if they’re on time and that’s no fun. So this was the best of all worlds and of course we all had Early Bird seating.

    My total “sin budget” for the trip was $2500 – this includes gambling and weed. I was prepared to spend $500 on weed and $400/day on gambling. My parents are VERY moderate gamblers (or so I thought…) and I knew I’d be spending a lot of time with them so didn’t budget as much for gambling. Ironic that it turned out to be my first winning trip!

    I have LOVED live reporting my solo trips – it is a way for me to pause and take stock of how freaking cool whatever I’m doing is and I also love looking at it afterwards and using that to help plan my next trip. It also helps me keep control of my gambling budget, though I figured out a simpler way to do that. However when I am there with people, I don’t like to be on my phone at all so wasn’t going to do it live this time. I will be posting this by day. Don’t want to type it all on my phone so I’ll post the update then a bunch of photos from that day to follow.

    Hope you enjoy and get a sense of how much we enjoyed!
     
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  2. Craps all day

    Craps all day Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2018
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    Location:
    Ventura, Ca
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    You dropped $500 on weed? Holy smokes!

    Thanks for posting up!
     
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  3. NPLV

    NPLV High-Roller

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Florida
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    DAY 1 – TUESDAY

    We had a fairly quick flight over, a little over 5 hours, and got in about 2:15. After baggage claim we took a cab to Caesars and checked in. We each used the kiosk check in. I got through mine and it said my room wasn’t ready, and then my parents’ machine said the same thing. Then an attendant came up and asked for our confirmation numbers. She came back and both of ours were ready. They were in the Augustus Tower which is right off the lobby whereas I was in the Palace Tower which is probably the furthest one. Still no big deal – once I figured it out it was maybe a 7-8 minute walk.

    I actually loved walking through most of the casino to the tower with all the sounds of chips and slot machines. I was on the 17th floor. There are two banks of elevators – one for floors 5-17 and another for 17-29, so mine was on both floors. I always used the second one so there’d be no stops on the way up or down.

    My room was very nice. I’d give it a 4/5. In terms of design and how it looked it was awesome. I had a nice view of the north Strip. It was big, especially the bathroom. Yet over my stay there were some small things (I wouldn’t even call them issues) that prevented it from being a 5-star room in my opinion. It was still luxurious and even though I know it won’t always be as cheap as on Thanksgiving week, I see myself staying here very often, especially after my luck in the casino.

    Got settled into the room then my dad had to take care of a couple work things so my mom and I ran out to a new dispensary I wanted to try. I was going to try the new huge one but couldn’t find a menu online. When I initially went to the Apothecary Shoppe, I thought I was going to the one my boss recommended – turned out he recommended the Apothecarium. I checked the menu online and liked what I saw.

    It was a great experience. It was MUCH further from the Strip (probably 20 minute drive) due west of the Trump. However, it was totally worth it. It was cool to see high school football stadiums with views of the entire Strip, got to see a lot more of the local side of Vegas. I had brought batteries for us from home so that we could use the vape cartridges which I think are much better than the disposable ones. I got two for myself. For edibles, they had buy one, get one free for gummies and I couldn’t resist that. I bought 14 (7 free) and still only spent $400 including tip. I was stoked to start the trip coming in under the weed budget!

    We made our way back to Caesars via Uber and I dropped my stuff off at the room and got the party started. Brought an edible with me for later but started puffing the vape pen and was very happy with how tasty it was and how well it ripped. I was puffing that thing from my room, down the hall, down the elevator and straight through the casino to meet my parents at Café Americano in the lobby where we had a drink.

    We decided to make our way down to New York-New York. We have always had fun there on our trips together and my parents were keen to go to the piano bar there that night. We started walking from Caesars and had a leisurely stroll through Bellagio. Took until halfway through Bellagio for me to get my parents comfortable with ripping the vape pen in public. We took the tram from Bellagio down to Park MGM and walked through. It was pretty boring-looking in my opinion. I spent a lot of time in Monte Carlo though I didn’t really gamble there and I think it used to be much better looking.

    We got to NYNY and decided to eat at Gonzalez y Gonzalez – we hadn’t eaten since about 4 AM Vegas time and it was about 5 PM at this point so we were starving. After we sat down, I took the opportunity to leave all my stuff at the table and go up to ride the roller coaster as I have done in all but one trip. It was fun as always but I did come back a tiny bit queasy. Nothing a few quick rips of the vape pen couldn’t solve but I may not be so dedicated to the tradition in the future. ;) Gonzalez y Gonzalez was great – we all had fajitas and beer. The salsa was fantastic.

    After dinner we still had some time before the piano bar opened, at which point I planned to go up to PH for the 10 PM poker tournament. My parents play almost exclusively craps and there we no spots at either open table at NYNY, so I proposed we take a short walk over to Excalibur which I was curious to check out anyway. We ended up at a $5 table in there. I had a crappy roll, as did my dad, but my mom saved us both and I cashed out $15 up but my parents kept playing for a bit. I am not a big craps player and any time I’ve stayed at the craps table a long time I’ve lost a lot of my bankroll. My parents barely gamble, but they were apparently feeling it this trip! Didn’t have much luck but played craps at a few places and the way they bet would make you think they were serious gamblers – hardways, the field, etc.

    We finished up at Excalibur and walked back across to NYNY where the piano bar was hopping. I bid my parents farewell for the night and started my walk north. I really enjoyed the walk. I was planning on taking the tram from Park MGM to Bellagio and walking across to Cromwell and then down, but then remembered there is a bridge from Cosmo to PH and walked towards that instead. It was a pretty quick walk and the bridge was even closer than I remember, with just a short walk through Crystals.

    It was too early to sign up for the 10 PM tournament so I walked north and played some slots at both Paris and Cromwell before heading back down to sign up. The weed gummies I had on prior trips were disgusting, and these were no different. It was tough to wash down with just a drink – from here on I mixed it in with food. However, they were certainly effective and I was in the zone when I sat down for the tournament.

    Tournament went okay – I finished 8th out of 28 so well outside the money, but I was in it for a good long time and I thought I played well. Most importantly, I enjoyed the hell out of it. I was out around 1:15 AM and got walking north. At one point I was walking next to these two guys and they asked what I was smoking. I told them legal ganja. They offered me a couple rips off their blunt and they were right: that shit was intense! They were looking to party. I wasn’t but I pointed them towards Drai’s thinking that would be their type of crowd. I should have recommended O’Shea’s but they probably came across it anyway.

    I got back to Caesars and played a couple slots. I hadn’t had any slot luck until this point in the trip and I wanted to preserve some of the day’s bankroll so I was betting lower – between .50 and $1/spin. At one point I was playing a game I had won money off of before at Caesars – a penny slot called Red Hot Tamales. I got a $60 hit off an .81 bet and decided to call it a night. Between weed and gambling, I ended the day with some decent bankroll cushion.

    And so ended my first night in Vegas! Photos to follow…
     
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  4. NPLV

    NPLV High-Roller

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  5. rooster42000

    rooster42000 Patriots #1

    Joined:
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    You didn't go to Planet 13
     
  6. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Good start!
     
  7. NPLV

    NPLV High-Roller

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    DAY 2 – WEDNESDAY

    I got about 5 hours of sleep which for me in Vegas is a lot, so I woke up Day 2 and hopped out of bed ready to go. It helps to have a wide open view of Vegas, even though you couldn’t see the Strip from laying in bed. I wanted to play the 9 AM poker tournament at Harrah’s but first eat at the Harrah’s buffet. It was about 7 so I figured I’d get over there and play for a bit before breakfast.

    What a nice walk over it was. The weather in Vegas was absolutely perfect the entire time. Probably 45-70 degrees was the range. I like Vegas at all times of the day but what I used to just appreciate about late night I now appreciate about early morning as well – it is empty! You can play at whatever table you want, whatever slot you want, the drink service is excellent. It’s awesome.

    I registered for the poker tournament and played some slots before the buffet opened, no real luck. Then went to eat breakfast. The buffet was actually not great. The eggs in the omelette were a bit too runny for me and the bacon was not really well cooked. Still had a plateful and a half of bacon. Even though the bacon wasn’t great, it still covered up the disgusting gummies just fine. As I said, the gummies are effective but several times they made me gag. To be fair, I don’t like gummies in general so this may not be a problem just with weed gummies.

    Played in the 9 AM tournament which went pretty well again. I didn’t make money but I played for a while and in my opinion I played well. I don’t remember any particular hands from this one. I made the final table but when there’s only 23 players that’s not really an achievement. However, I felt great about how I played and it was just a matter of luck on my final all-in.

    I walked back across to Caesars and met my parents who were having a drink at the sports book bar. We went over to Gordon Ramsay Pub which I had been to before and wasn’t too impressed but they wanted to try so I was of course game. I had the mini pub burgers and it was better than the pigs in a blanket I had before. Still probably wouldn’t go back on my own but there aren’t many places I wouldn’t go in Vegas with my parents – we’ve always had an awesome time there.

    I went over to Flamingo to play some slots and had no luck. Until Friday, my slot luck was generally poor. I did have some luck playing video blackjack at Bugsy’s Bar. Man is it great to just sit there and take in that environment. I loved it, and won some money. After a while, I did something I rarely do in Vegas – went back to the hotel and took a quick nap!

    At around 4:30, my parents and I met downstairs and we took an Uber to downtown. We played downtown a couple times a few years ago when my parents were teaching my sister and me to play craps (she’s hopefully joining us next year!) and wanted to do so on $5 tables. So some good memories there for sure.

    The driver dropped us off right by Fremont Street and to be honest, we were all immediately turned off. I’ve been there a couple times recently and it did not seem to be filled with so many hobos/beggars. This time they were everywhere and they would get up in our face and either start to tell their story or just flat out ask for money. We took a walk and decided to stick around and we’ll probably end up having a good time.

    We started at the D where we played craps for quite a bit. Once again, my mom was a great shooter and we were up quite a bit for a while. When things started to turn around, I cashed out and played some slots while my parents stayed at the craps table. I almost had a nice Simpsons hit but had no luck. We walked back onto Fremont Street and the beggar situation had gotten worse. I suggested we head to the Golden Nugget and we walked through Four Queens en route.

    We went into the Nugget and looked around for a craps table. They were all packed. It was a VERY rowdy bunch – a ton of screaming, cursing, chest bumping. There’s a normal amount of that at a craps table and there’s an excessive amount and this was people absolutely losing their shit. None of us really wanted a part of that, we’re all a bit more low key. My parents indulged me and got a drink at one of the bars while I went to play some blackjack. I sat down at a $10 table and promptly lost $50, decided I’d rather lose my money on the Strip and cashed out. Found my parents and we were all ready to leave. Out of the whole trip, this was the least enjoyable part and none of us will be back downtown for quite a while.

    Fortunately it was a very nice evening from then on. We took an Uber to Westgate to eat at Benihana. I also was excited to check out a new casino – I had been there before to eat at Benihana but I guess coming in from the Monorail we didn’t pass through it, and I didn’t really gamble then. Benihana was great as always and there was a fun group at the table. After dinner, my parents played a bit of craps in the casino and had no luck. After playing at the D, I didn’t play craps against until the last night of the trip and they played less and less – I’ve just never won any real money playing craps, and when I play it usually takes a giant chunk of my bankroll.

    After that, we walked over to the Monorail and took it down to the Flamingo station. Monorail is so convenient and underrated. This was probably around 9 or so and my parents were still on East Coast time so they called it a night. I had expected to be downtown longer so didn’t plan on another poker tournament today, but after stopping by the room to re-up on weed I decided to head down to PH for the 10 PM tournament for the second day in a row.

    Made it down there and signed up for the tournament with some time to enjoy beforehand. I do love the whole PH/Paris area. I sat down at the bar on the north side (not the Heart Bar) and played some video BJ ($2.50/hand) for a bit with no luck. Then I decided to go have a glass of wine and maybe some crackers or something to wash down the edibles. I walked into Alexxa which I guess is part of Hexx at Paris. I knew the place was open 24 hours so I was keen to check it out. It was empty except for three staff people in the corner and a guy singing and playing guitar. I sat at the bar. About 5 minutes went by and even though I was the only one in there, no one came up to me. So I walked back over to PH. Played slots and got myself a beer to help wash down the gummies, but literally almost threw up in the process. Managed to hold it down though. Next time will be marijuana chocolates.

    This tournament was my best finish yet – 7th out of 33 so still outside the money but once again I thought I played very well. There was this girl at the table around my age (30ish) who had a nose ring and she was dancing in her seat to whatever the DJ was dropping and she was just whooping everyone’s ass. I honestly found her pretty sexy. I bet big against her almost got wiped out very early but managed to recover to become one of the middle stacks for most of the tournament. Two rivers killed me but still enjoyed myself. Love the PH poker room smack dab in the middle of the casino, and I love the tunes they have playing there late at night. Keeps you up.

    I was pretty tired at this point which was a little before 1. But I wanted a snack, so I walked north to Casino Royale for a hot dog. I don’t remember how long it took me to get there but it had just closed when I did. Maybe I stopped and played on the way. I peeked into White Castle and the line was a mile long. So I walked just south and patronized Old Reliable – Mickey D’s, which satisfied me just fine.

    Went back to Caesars, put the tub to use, and called it a night.
     
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  8. NPLV

    NPLV High-Roller

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  9. eri_manga

    eri_manga Tourist

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    Nice TR so far and great job with the pics
     
  10. Ken D

    Ken D Tourist

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    Thanks for posting. Enjoyed the pics.
     
  11. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Loving the pics. iPhone I assume?
     
  12. NPLV

    NPLV High-Roller

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    I did not - could not find a menu online and didn't want to risk having to go to two places to get what I want. I hope to go in the near future!
     
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  13. NPLV

    NPLV High-Roller

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    Yes sir! Thanks.
     
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  14. Suekel

    Suekel VIP Whale

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    Great TR so far, love the details and all the photos.
     
  15. sabrina

    sabrina Low-Roller

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    Enjoying your report!
     
  16. NPLV

    NPLV High-Roller

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    Won’t have time to finish this as a proper report so just gonna do a photo dump with some explanations per day.

    Thursday was very easy with not much gambling. Not many photos either. We walked around, they went to the spa, I took a nap, we had dinner at Joes in the Forum Shops. Wonderful relaxing thanksgiving and I was in bed by 11 or so.

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    Friday coming next....
     
  17. NPLV

    NPLV High-Roller

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    So Friday was when my luck began to turn mostly in the form of poker tournaments. Did the 10 AM tournament at Caesars and placed 5th. Crazy lady was kicking ass, she was going all in with Q4 and hitting a flush on the river. She was doing this while getting a massage at the table a lot of the time. She had to have won. I just outlasted one other guy who I guess got frustrated I wasn’t eliminated yet so made too bold a move. I did have a great hand: went all in with pocket aces and ended up with four of a kind. I profited about $300 for placing 5th.

    I also did the Harrah’s bounty tournament at 7 PM. Prior to Caesars that morning, this was the only tournament I had ever cashed in - twice. In this tournament was literally one of the guys from the first one I cashed in from back in Feb - guy was in from Holland. I got pocket aces two hands in a row and called two all ins. This time I also outlasted other guys as well. By the time it got down to 5 or so (top 3 getting paid), I was way lower than anyone else. I had one all in that helped me out but I still got lucky. Two other guys got reckless and then the guy in 2nd place proposed a chop with the Dutch guy getting 1st and him and me splitting second. Deal! Profited about $250.

    Aside from that had some decent slot luck on quarter slots. Didn’t see my parents much but my mom wanted to shop so she joined me for tacos at La Gloria in the Caesars food court (best tacos on earth) and I joined her at the coach store right in the Forum Shops while she bought a purse. I was told by the clerk that I have good taste!

    After cashing in the Harrah’s tournament I dropped off some cash then took an edible and went on a walk down to Bellagio and aria. I wanted to check out the route @UKFanatic suggested thru vdara and I was very impressed. Quick and easy and you get a great view of the manhattan portion of Vegas. Vdara is very nice looking but smells differently than any other Vegas hotel I’ve been to, I guess non smoking.

    Stayed up and played some slots for a bit at various places mostly Flamingo and Cromwell and Caesars. Some decent luck and went to bed up for the day.

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    For those wondering I took pics of what the edibles look like and what my vape setup was. I actually brought the battery from home and the 1g cartridge was $80. It was delicious and I was smoking it constantly and one nearly lasted me the whole trip.

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  18. NPLV

    NPLV High-Roller

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    Saturday was literally the best day of gambling I’ve ever had in my life by pure monetary outcome at least. For most of the day I wasn’t even really gambling...was at the sports book watching college football and loving it. Had reserved seats for me and my parents and we were next to this retired couple from Phoenix who were great company.

    Sports betting wise I did pretty badly overall but my one parlay that hit made me up $15 overall from sports. That parlay was Ohio State +5 vs Michigan, Florida -7 vs Florida State and Baylor +5.5 vs Texas Tech. All three were earlier in the day Saturday so nice to know I was gonna be up from all my bets regardless of what happened with LSU. I had LSU money line in two parlays. We left for dinner at the Palm right in the Forum Shops, when I left they had just given Coach O the Gatorade bath. Sure enough we had a nice leisurely last dinner in town, and then were still able to catch the end at the Palm bar. Guess I should’ve taken the points!

    I screwed around on some slots for a bit and had some decent wins on quarter slots. Then I decided to play the midnight poker tournament. It was a weird tournament with few chips and high blinds. I was out pretty quickly but thank goodness I was.

    After the tournament I decided I was gonna play about $200 more and come home with at least $800/$2K bankroll. Unless I hit big I would do all slots. I started out in the dollar machines doing $2-3/spin explicitly trying to go for a hand pay. I went through about $100 on the dollar machines with no hand pay to speak of. So I figured I’ll spend my last hundred I was willing to lose just enjoying myself, screw the handpay.

    Sat down at a quarter Total Rewards wheel machine and started playing. My first couple spins I got two quick hit symbols and got 20 credits ($5). I saw on the paytable that if I got three quick hit symbols, it’d be 5000 credits ($1250). Sure enough, a couple spins later, there it was. It happened so quickly it took me a second to process it. The screen lit up, coins started falling, triumphant music started playing. I pressed the attendant button and someone was over right away. Then someone else was over too. People were all over congratulating me. It was really awesome even for one of the smaller jackpots paid out that day I’m sure!

    They paid me and as I went to drop it off in my room the attendant called back out to me. “Sir you still have money in the machine!” Awesome! I cashed out and went up to my room. I put enough cash away to where I was coming back with my entire bankroll. I had never taken out $600 and I had $1400 locked up. I had about $400 in my wallet and said fuck it, I’m just gonna enjoy myself and blow through it all.

    I hit the hand pay about 1:15 and we headed to the airport at 7. The hours in between were fun as all heck. Played blackjack, UTH and craps at Cromwell. Played some more at Flamingo. Just enjoyed the atmosphere and environment. After a long while I headed back over to Caesars and played some slots, mostly penny slots this time. Actually had a few decent hits. Went up to my room about 6:15 to get ready to head to the airport and man, I don’t think I could have had a better last night. I walked up to my room that final time with $90 in my wallet, so that was my official winning amount for the trip!

    Overall, a fantastic trip. Bringing my bankroll back is an awesome feeling, but even before that I had loved the trip. As usual my love for Vegas evolved and I am even more excited for next time!

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  19. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Congrats on the handpay at quick hits! And always remember they don't cash out the machine for you. Hoping that scenario happens to me sooner than later!
     
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  20. UKFanatic

    UKFanatic The Arbiter of Taste Caviar Kid

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    10,095
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    50
    Great pics
     
    Final Trip of the Year
    Big meetup with friends!